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The Kodava (Kodava takk, meaning 'speech of Kodavas', in the Kodava language, alternate name: Coorgi, Kodagu) is an endangered Dravidian language and it is spoken in Kodagu district in Southern Karnataka, India. The term Kodava has two related usages. Firstly, it is the name of the Kodava language and culture followed by a number of communities from Kodagu. Secondly, within the Kodava-speaking communities and region (Kodagu), it is a demonym for the dominant Kodava people. Hence, the Kodava language is not only the primary language of the Kodavas but also of many other castes and tribes in Kodagu. The language has two dialects: Mendele (spoken in Northern and Central Kodagu, i.e. outside Kodagu's Kiggat naadu) and Kiggat (spoken in Kiggat naadu, in Southern Kodagu).
|113,857 (2011 census)|
|Regulated by||Karnataka Kodava Sahitya Academy|
Historically, it has been referred to as a dialect of Kannada. However it has been re-analysed as a language by early 20th century academics. Now it is considered as an intermediate language between Kannada, Malayalam, Tamil, and Tulu in comparative linguistics.
It is traditionally written using the Kannada script which is an abugida. The 2011 Census of India reports 96,918 persons who returned Kodava as their mother tongue and 16,939 for Coorgi/Kodagu, for a total of 113,857 persons who identified one of these languages as their mother tongue.
In Kannada, the region was called Kodagu and the people Kodaga. Natively, the people were called Kodava and the land was called Kodavu in the folksongs. Comparative Dravidian studies show that the Kodava language belongs to the South Dravidian language group. 
The grammar of Kodagu has been systematically studied and documented since at least around 1867 when Captain R.A. Cole published the seminal work An Elementary Grammar of the Coorg Language.
Dravidian vowel systems contain five vowel qualities i.e. those usually corresponding to a, e, i, o and u., with a short and long variants for each. However, Kodava has two more: the mid and high (close) back unrounded vowels, with corresponding long variants.
Kodagu has 14 vowels. 7 of these, i, e, ɛ, a, ɑ, o, u, have long equivalents.
Kodava has 25 consonants.
Kodava and Kannada share a lack of palatalization of word-initial *k-, which is a feature found in the Tamil-Malayalam branch.
Linguistically, Kodava/Kodagu language belongs to the South Dravidian subfamily of the Dravidian family. Further within the South Dravidian subfamily , it belongs to the subgroup Tamil-Malayalam-Kodagu-Kota-Toda. It is closely related to and influenced by Kannada, Malayalam, Tamil and Tulu. A majority of the words are common between Kodava and Beary bashe, a dialect which is a mixture of Tulu and Malayalam spoken by the Beary muslims and Kodava Thiyyar communities. Kodava is also closely related to the Kasaragod and Kannur dialects of Malayalam, which are in turn related to Beary.
Family histories, rituals and other records were scripted on palm leaves called Pattole (patt=palm, ole=leaf) by astrologers in the ancient times. When Kodava was written, it was usually with Kannada script, sometimes with minor modifications. The folk songs of the Kodavas, called the Palame (also known as the Balo Patt or Dudi Patt), were orally transmitted across several generations. The language had no significant written literature until the twentieth century. Appachcha Kavi, a playwright, and Nadikerianda Chinnappa, a folk compiler, are the two important poets and writers of the Kodava language. Other important writers in the language were B D Ganapathy and I M Muthanna.
In 2005, after requests from the Kodagu community, German linguist Gerard Cox created a script unique to Kodava called the Coorgi-Cox script. It uses straight lines for 5 vowels, and has circles for diphthongs.
The Pattole Palame, a collection of Kodava folksongs and traditions compiled in the early 1900s by Nadikerianda Chinnappa, was first published in 1924. The most important Kodava literature, it is said to be one of the earliest, if not the earliest, collection of folklore of a community in an Indian language. Nearly two-thirds of the book consists of folksongs that were handed down orally through generations, sung even today during marriage and death ceremonies and during festivals relating to the seasons and in honour of local deities and heroes. Traditionally known as Balo Pat, these songs are sung by four men who beat dudis (drums) as they sing. Kodava folk dances are performed to the beat of many of these songs. The Pattole Palame was written using the Kannada script originally; it has been translated into English by Boverianda Nanjamma and Chinnappa, grandchildren of Nadikerianda Chinnappa, and has been published by Rupa & Co., New Delhi.
The Kodava Cinema industry is very small. A few movies portraying the native culture and traditions of the Kodavas have been produced in this language. The first Kodava film 'Nada Mann Nada Kool' was directed by S.R.Rajan and produced in the year 1972.
Words for family membersEdit
|Maternal Uncle / Paternal Aunt's husband||Thammaavo / Maavo|
|Maternal Uncle's wife / Paternal Aunt||Maavi / Thammaavi|
|Eldest Paternal Uncle / Eldest Maternal Aunt's husband||Baliappo|
|Eldest Paternal Uncle's wife / Eldest Maternal Aunt||Baliavvo|
|Elder Paternal Uncle / Elder Maternal Aunt's husband||Bojappo|
|Elder Paternal Uncle's wife / Elder Maternal Aunt||Bojavvo|
|Younger Paternal Uncle / Younger Maternal Aunt's husband||Kunjappo|
|Younger Paternal Uncle's wife/ Younger Maternal Aunt||Kunjavvo|
|Youngest Paternal Uncle / Youngest Maternal Aunt's husband||Cheriappo|
|Youngest Paternal Uncle's wife/ Youngest Maternal Aunt||Cheriavvo|
|brother-in-law (elder) / cross-cousin (elder, brother) / lineal cousin (elder, sister)'s husband||Baavo|
|sister-in-law (elder)/ cross-cousin (elder, sister) / lineal-cousin (elder, brother)'s wife||Mammo|
|brother (elder) / lineal cousin (elder brother) / cross-cousin (elder, sister)'s husband||Anno / Annaiah|
|sister (elder) / lineal-cousin (elder, sister) / cross-cousin (elder, brother)'s wife||Akko / Akkaiah|
|Kanni||Saaru||Kañji/Kūṭṭu||Chaar||Kajipu||Stew (lentils, vegetables, etc)|
|Bappi||Bartini||Va(ruki)ṟēn/Varuvēn||Varam||Barpe||I will Come (Farewell Greeting)|
|Bandan Ullo||Baruta iddene||Va(ruki)ṟēn||Varunnund||Barond ulle||Am coming|
|Yenene Ulliya?||Hege iddiya?||Eppaḍi/Enneṇdu (uḷḷ-/irukkiṟ-)(-ai/-āi/-īrgaḷ)||Engane und?||Encha ulla/ya?||How are you?|
|Kere Pamb||Kere Haavu||Chārai Pāmbu||Chēra Pamb||Keri||Rat Snake|
|Pulunja Puḷi||Hunase Huli||PuLi||PuLi||Punke puli||Tamarind|
|Paaduvo||Haadu||Paadu||Paaduka||Pada paad||to sing|
Since 2021, the Mangalore University now teaches an MA degree in the Kodava language.
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- "PHOIBLE Online -". phoible.org. Retrieved 26 January 2019.
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- Krishnamurti, Bhadriraju. Dravidian Languages, p21, Cambridge Language Surveys, Cambridge University Press, 2003
- Merritt, Anne (1 April 2015). "Easiest written languages for English speakers". The Daily Telegraph. ISSN 0307-1235. Retrieved 14 October 2017.
- "– Official Website of Kodava Community". Kodava.org. Retrieved 1 June 2012.
- "Mangalore University to offer MA in Kodava language". Deccan Herald. 17 December 2021. Retrieved 30 May 2022.
- R A Cole, "An Elementary Grammar of the Coorg Language"
- Government of Coorg (1953), Handbook of Coorg Census-1951 (PDF), Assistant Commissioner and District Census Officer, Coorg